Cows Hoof with Chickpeas (Mão de Vaca com Grão)

Mão de Vaca com Grão, or Cows Hoof with Chickpeas, is a very unique dish in Portuguese gastronomy. Originating in the central part of Portugal, it is an interesting combination of flavors, coming from the cows hoof, piri piri sauce, chourico, and chickpeas, which are very typical of Mediterranean cuisine. The combination of these typical Portuguese ingredients creates a flavorful and rich sauce with a spicy kick, which is perfect for being enjoyed with some rice on the side.

*Serves 2-3*
Ingredients:
1 cows hoof
1 chourico sausage
6 bacon slices
2 carrots, chopped
2 onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 lbs. chickpeas
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3/4 cup white wine
1 tablespoon piri piri
3/4 cup rice
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1) Cook the chickpeas in a saucepan with some water on medium heat. Once they are done and tender, add them to a bowl and set aside.
2) Clean and wash the cows hoof. Place it in a saucepan with some water and let it boil for 5 minutes. Remove the water from the saucepan and pour it out.
3) Now add the carrots, onions, garlic, bay leaf, white wine, piri piri, and salt and pepper to taste to the saucepan. Let it cook on low heat for 15 minutes.
4) As it is cooking, in a frying pan on medium heat, add the bacon and chourico along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once they are browned, add them to the saucepan along with the rest of the olive oil and the tomato paste. Turn it to medium heat and stir it well as it cooks.
5) Once the cows hoof is soft and tender, break it apart into small pieces and add them back to the saucepan. Let it simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
6) Boil the 3/4 cup of rice with some water.
7) Add the chickpeas to the saucepan and allow to simmer about 15 minutes on low heat. Stir it well.
8) Cover with the chopped parsley. Serve while hot on a platter with the white rice.

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